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posing the unhappy differences in matters of religion, which we found among our subjects upon our return. But it being evident by the sad experience of twelve years, that there is very little fruit of all those forcible courses, we think ourselves obliged to make use of that supreme power in ecclesiastical matters, which is not only inherent in us but hath been declared and recognized to be so by several statutes and acts of parliament. And therefore we do now accordingly issue out this our royal declaration, as well for the quieting the minds of our good subjects in these points, for inviting strangers in this conjuncture to come and live under us, and for the better encouragement of all to a cheerful following of their trades and callings, from whence we hope, by the blessing of God, to have many good and happy advantages to our government; as also for preventing for the future the danger that might otherwise arise from private meetings and seditious conventicles. And in the first place, we declare our express resolution, meaning and intention to be, that the Church of England be preserved, and remain entire in its doctrine, discipline, and government, as it now stands established by law and that this be taken to be, as it is, the basis, rule and standard of the general and public worship of God, and the orthodox conformable clergy do receive and enjoy the revenues belonging thereunto; and that no person, though of different opinion and persuasion, shall be exempt from paying his tithes, or other dues whatsoever. And further, we declare, that no person shall be capable of holding any benefice, living, or ecclesiastical dignity or preferment of any kind in this kingdom of England, who is not exactly conformable. We do in the next place declare our will and pleasure to be, that the execution of all and all manner of penal laws in matters ecclesiastical, against whatsoever sort of non-conformists, or recusants, be immediately suspended, and they are hereby suspended. And all judges of assize and gaol-delivery sheriffs, justices of the peace, mayors, bailiffs, and other officers whatsoever, whether ecclesiastical or civil, are to take notice of it, and pay due obedience thereunto, and that there may be no pretence for any of our subjects to continue their illegal meetings and conventicles, we do declare, that we shall from time to time allow a sufficient number of places, as shall be desired, in all parts of this our kingdom, for the use of such as do not conform to the Church of England, to meet and assemble in, in order to their public worship and devotion; which places shall be open and free to all persons. But to prevent such disorders and inconveniences as may happen by this our indulgence, if not duly regulated, and that they may be better protected by the civil magistrate, our express will
and pleasure is, that none of our subjects do presume to meet in any place, until such place be allowed, and the teacher of that congregation be approved by us. And lest any should apprehend that this our restriction should make our said allowance and approbation difficult to be obtained, we do further declare, that this our indulgence as to the allowance of public places of worship, and approbation of teachers, shall extend to all sorts of non-conformists and recusants, except the recusants of the Roman Catholic religion, to whom we shall no ways allow in public places of worship, but only indulge them in their share in the common exemption from the executing the penal laws, and the exercise of their worship in their private houses only. And if after this our clemency and indulgence, any of our subjects shall presume to abuse this liberty, and shall preach seditiously, or to the derogation of the doctrine, discipline, or government of the established church, or shall meet in places not allowed by us; we do hereby give them warning, and declare, we will proceed against them with all imaginable severity: and we will let them see, we can be as severe to punish such offenders, when so justly provoked, as we are indulgent to truly tender consciences.
RESOLUTIONS OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
The House then resumed the Debate of that Part of His Majesty's Speech, which relates to his Declaration of Indulgence to Dissenters. And the Declaration was read.
The Question being propounded, That penal Statutes, in Matters Ecclesiastical, cannot be suspended but by Act of Parliament;
The Question being put, That the Question be now put;
The House divided.
The Noes go forth.
The main Question being put, That penal Statutes, in Matters Ecclesiastical, cannot be suspended but by Act of Parliament;
It was resolved in the Affirmative.
Resolved, etc. That an humble Petition and Address, upon this Vote and the Debate of the House, be forthwith prepared and drawn
up, to be presented to his Majesty; and that it be referred to [names follow here]. to prepare and bring in the Petition and
(C.J. ix. 251.)
Mr. Powle reports from the Committee appointed to prepare and draw up a Petition and Address to his Majesty, the said Petition and Address: Which he read, in his Place; and after, delivered the same in at the Clerk's Table: And the same being again twice read, is as followeth ; viz.
Most gracious Sovereign,
We your Majesty's most loyal and faithful Subjects, the Commons assembled in Parliament, do, in the first place, as in all Duty bound, return your Majesty our most humble and hearty Thanks for the many gracious Promises and Assurances which Your Majesty hath several times, during this present Parliament, given to us, that Your Majesty would secure and maintain unto us the true Reformed Protestant Religion, our Liberties, and Properties: Which most gracious Assurances Your Majesty hath, out of your great Goodness, been pleased to renew unto us more particularly, at the Opening of this present Session of Parliament.
And further we crave Leave humbly to represent, That we have, with all Duty and Expedition, taken into our Consideration several Parts of Your Majesty's last Speech to us, and withal the Declaration therein mentioned, for Indulgence to Dissenters, dated the Fifteenth of March last: And we find ourselves bound in Duty to inform Your Majesty, that penal Statutes, in Matters Ecclesiastical, cannot be suspended, but by Act of Parliament.
We therefore, the Knights, Citizens and Burgesses of Your Majesty's House of Commons, do most humbly beseech Your Majesty, that the said Laws may have their free Course, until it shall be otherwise provided for by Act of Parliament: And that Your Majesty would graciously be pleased to give such Directions herein, that no Apprehensions or Jealousies may remain in the Hearts of Your Majesty's good and faithful subjects.
Resolved, etc. That this House doth agree with the Committee in the Petition and Address by them drawn up to be presented to his Majesty.
(C.J. ix. 252.)
THE HABEAS CORPUS AMENDMENT ACT1 31 Charles II. Cap. 2, 1679.
An act for the better securing the liberty of the subject, and for prevention of imprisonments beyond the seas.
Whereas great delays have been used by sheriffs, gaolers, and other officers, to whose custody any of the King's subjects have been committed for criminal or supposed criminal matters, in making returns of writs of Habeas Corpus to them directed, by standing out an Alias and pluries Habeas Corpus, and sometimes more, and by other shifts to avoid their yielding obedience to such writs, contrary to their duty and the known laws of the land, whereby many of the King's subjects have been, and hereafter may be long detained in prison, in such cases where by law they are bailable, to their great charges and vexation;
II. For the prevention whereof, and the more speedy relief of all persons imprisoned for any such criminal or supposed criminal matters; be it enacted by the King's most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons in this present parliament assembled, and by authority thereof, That whensoever any person or persons shall bring any Habeas Corpus directed unto any sheriff or sheriffs, gaoler, minister, or other person whatsoever, for any person in his or their custody, and the said writ shall be served upon the said officer, or left at the gaol or prison with any of the under officers, under keepers, or deputy of the said officers or keepers, that the said officer or officers, his or their under officers, under keepers, or deputies, shall, within three days after the service thereof as aforesaid, (unless the commitment aforesaid were for treason or felony, plainly or specially expressed in the warrant of commitment), upon payment or tender of the charges of bringing the said prisoner, to be ascertained by the judge or court that awarded the same, and indorsed upon the said writ, not exceeding twelvepence per mile, and upon security given by his own bond to pay the charges of carrying back the prisoner, if he shall be remanded by the court or judge to which he shall be brought according to the true intent of this present act, and that he will not
1 Repealed in part by Stat. Law Rev. Act, 1863.
make any escape by the way, make return of such writ; and bring, or cause to be brought, the body of the party so committed or restrained, unto or before the Lord Chancellor, or Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England for the time being, or the judges or barons of the said court from whence the said writ shall issue, or unto or before such other person or persons before whom the said writ is made returnable, according to the command thereof; and shall then likewise certify the true causes of his detainer or imprisonment, unless the commitment of the said party be in any place beyond the distance of twenty miles, from the place or places where such court or person is or shall be residing; and if beyond the distance of twenty miles, and not above one hundred miles, then within the space of ten days, and if beyond the distance of one hundred miles, then within the space of twenty days, after such delivery aforesaid, and not longer.
III. And to the intent that no sheriff, gaoler, or other officer, may pretend ignorance of the import of any such writ; be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all such writs shall be marked in this manner, per statutum tricesimo primo Caroli secundi regis, and shall be signed by the person that awards the same; and if any person or persons shall be or stand committed or detained as aforesaid, for any crime, unless for felony or treason plainly expressed in the warrant of commitment, in the vacation time, and out of term, it shall and may be lawful to and for the person or persons so committed or detained (other than persons convict or in execution by legal process) or any one on his or their behalf, to appeal or complain to the Lord Chancellor or Lord Keeper, or any one of His Majesty's justices, either of the one bench or of the other, or the barons of the exchequer of the degree of the coif; and the said Lord Chancellor, Lord Keeper, justices or barons, or any of them, upon view of the copy or copies of the warrant or warrants of commitment or detainer, or otherwise upon oath made that such copy or copies were denied to be given by such person or persons in whose custody the prisoner or prisoners is or are detained, are hereby authorized and required, upon request made in writing by such person or persons, or any on his, her or their behalf, attested and subscribed by two witnesses who were present at the delivery of the same, to award and grant a Habeas Corpus under the seal of such court whereof he shall then be one of the judges, to be directed to the officer or officers in whose custody the party so committed or detained shall be; returnable immediate before the said Lord Chancellor, or Lord Keeper, or such justice, baron, or any other justice or baron of the degree of the coif of any of the said courts; and upon service thereof as aforesaid, the officer